You’ll hear from my lawyer! Now, that is a phrase no one wants to hear.
When lawyers get involved it usually means that things have gotten bad – either with illegal activity or civil disputes. Lawyers are often perceived as greedy, cunning, and dishonest. Others see lawyers as one of the reasons the United States has more incarcerated people than any other country in the world. Howe’ver, in reality, lawyers play a wide variety of roles in the legal system, are governed by strict rules, and many change U.S. society through their work. Of course, not all lawyers are bad, but there are clear reasons why lawyers have a negative reputation.
People most often encounter lawyers in an adversarial way, whether it’s in a divorce or child custody hearing, contract dispute, or criminal defense. Lawyers have an ethical duty to advocate for their client, and if you are on the opposing side this advocacy can feel very personal, vindictive, and unfair. Even more so, in a situation like a divorce or criminal charges, the opposing lawyer can rightfully become a serious source of frustration. Ironically, if you have a good lawyer on your side, they can be a source of relief, gratitude, and justice.
Attorneys need to renew their Bar membership (which allows them to practice law) each year. If they are found to have violated any of those rules, they may be dis-barred and lose their ability to practice law.
The Rules of Legal Ethics Keep Lawyers Honest
Bad lawyers have a reputation for frivolous lawsuits and outrageous fees. While lawyers are usually expensive (though many also do pro-bono or no-cost work), they also must comply with legal ethics and professional responsibility rules. These rules govern how a lawyer can do their job and include topics such as:
- conflicts of interest,
- reporting professional misconduct, and
- many more.
In short, lawyers are accountable for their professional actions and their clients, peers, judges, and others can all file complaints against them for professional misconduct. Attorneys can even lose their professional license if they’re found guilty of a crime.
Plaintiff’s Lawyers Fight for What’s Right
Not only aren’t all lawyers bad, but many devote their professional careers to justice. Consider that all supreme court decisions that change the course of U.S. history were initiated by lawyers and their clients. Many lawyers also focus on bringing justice for the underserved through pro-bono work, public interest law, and class-action lawsuits. At their best, attorneys use the legal system to bring justice to their client and others through a ruling, a settlement, or a law change.
If you are looking for legal counsel but have been discouraged by the sense that working with a lawyer will be unpleasant, we understand completely. But in truth, lawyers play a key role in the justice and legal system. They’re governed by strict ethical rules and the vast majority of lawyers adhere to these rules. They prioritize their clients and take their duty seriously. Even though they might frustrate you, lawyers aren’t inherently bad and many change the world for good. We know because we work with some of the greatest lawyers in Texas, and everyone on the Williams Hart & Boundas team represents the best of the legal profession. Contact us today for a free case overview, we’re happy to serve the legal needs of our community.